Thursday, April 16, 2015


“It says right across your forehead, integrity for sale,” isn’t just a catchy Nickelback lyric. It’s a reflection of our times. It’s also a hard-to-swallow cultural truth we are constantly being forced to face by those who, whether intentionally or not, take the public stage hostage and use it as a platform to show the world just how despicable and stupid a human being can be.

For us Canadians, though, this cultural pain was largely felt vicariously through our neighbors to the south: those psychotic, living large, gun-slinging, fast food, Walmart Americans with their bizarre, over-the-top celebrity worship and cartoon politics.

But then the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, and his long suffering wife, Renata, came along like a counter-superhero with a cunnilingus-receiving sidekick to ruin the day and obliterate any smugness Canadians might have been harbouring regarding their superior level-headedness and decorum.

He is Rob Ford! The Apologizing Man! His special anti-power is his insincere-sincere apology…sincerely.

Not even a cancer diagnosis can stop this man from apologizing.

It would in fact appear that he never leaves his house without an apology in his right pocket and up until relatively recently a crack pipe in his left. 

The crack pipe might have been exchanged for a malignant lard tumor, but apparently he still keeps his Special-Shield-Apology-Badge with him at all times for those inevitable occasions when he still needs to apologize, even though he is no longer the mayor.

In the past, he has found this badge of dishonor useful in situations where he has been caught in drunken stupors while jay-walking or getting high in  the midst of plotting the demise of one of his many “perceived” enemies.

When he’s caught doing or saying something he really should not – which he always gets caught – he whips out his badge with an unsteady hand, staggers to his knees and offers up an apology after the fact the way a sinner prays for forgiveness while committing one or more of the seven deadly sins. The difference is that unlike the praying hypocrite, Rob, the Apologizing Hypocrite, falls to his knees not out of genuine contrition, but because he is weak in more ways than one and letting empty words drool out of his mouth requires a lot less effort than being accountable.

Basically, this privileged, undisciplined goofball and his equally ridiculous wife have made deals with the devil – albeit a Looney Tunes Tasmanian one – in which integrity has been exchanged for addiction and all the corruption and soul-erosion that goes hand-in-hand with the kind of self-indulgent substance and food abuse Rob Ford enjoys.

No one can know for sure if Robby Boy, whose denial is so great he refers to himself in the third person because he cannot bear to accept the buffoon that he is in first person, ever had any integrity to begin with. But if he did, he lost it along with the definition of “sincerely”.

He has made so many public apologies using the word “sincerely”, when clearly he is NOT sincere, that one has to wonder if he has dyslexia in addition to his other glaring issues.

It is as if he believes the word “sorry” literally works like a delete key and that its mere utterance completely erases deplorable behavior, as if the behavior never happened in the first place. He has convinced himself of this so thoroughly that he actually becomes self-righteously offended when asked by reporters and others to explain himself.

He has never understood what the problem is. As far as he’s concerned, he might be a man who likes to have a good time outside of his job, but so what! Who doesn’t? And sure, he’s “a little rough around the edges”, but he’s also a man who “calls a spade a spade” and up until his unfortunate liposarcoma diagnosis never missed a day of work.

Rob also likes to point out, all apologizing aside, that he really is a good guy who, for example, NEVER took advantage of the free zoo pass to which he was entitled as a council member. He is quite proud of all his self-sacrifice.

He furthermore thought it was a DISGRACE that other counsellors would waste taxpayer dollars by taking advantage of ANY of the varied perks allowed them. Rob Ford, for one, would NEVER rip off the electorate in such a blatantly unfair way.

While other counsellors were living large with free metro passes, for instance, Mayor Ford resigned himself to blasting around in his own gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade using fuel he paid for himself. He furthermore apologized REPEATEDLY for many, many things and continues to do so. What’s the problem? He’s sorry. There is nothing more he can do.

Watching any one of Rob Ford’s apologies, absurd rationalizations and deep affronts is the funniest thing ever seen on Canadian news. His persona has at times over the last few years turned the news hours into Late Night with Ford Nation. It’s been fun.

However, sadly, the fun might be ending prematurely. Cancer, that cunning sadist, seems particularly fond of honing in on a life right when things are getting good. It is sad because above all else Rob Ford is just another person struggling with his mortality, a fate everyone shares, and as such deserves the same dignity all passing human life does.

Despite their antics and questionable opinions, it is hard not to like our Canadian buffoons, and if this sinner starts praying, the buffoon that is Rob Ford will definitely be in her prayers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Watermelon Infidelity

Watermelon seeds are responsible for my divorce. I love watermelon. Unfortunately, my former husband, Walter, did not. He despised anything to do with watermelons, particularly the seeds.

He hated watermelon seeds so much that after a few years of wedded bliss, these seemingly innocuous black ovules caused him to fly into a blind, murderous rage. In a flurry of watermelon induced madness, right before my very eyes he massacred the last and final watermelon I ever brought into our marriage.

I had never seen this psychotic side of Walter before, although if anything was going to make him lose it, watermelon seeds would be the thing. The only time I ever saw him get agitated about ANYTHING was when watermelon seeds were involved. The rest of the time, during our marriage anyway, he was pretty much an insentient object – perhaps a watermelon but without the color.

Yes, Walter was a melon.

The first summer of our union that I brought a watermelon home from the market, Walter was mildly annoyed. He said he was not a watermelon fan and would prefer it if I refrained from buying them.

"Watermelons have NO redeeming qualities," he informed me. "They are 95% water and seeds. If you're thirsty, drink a glass of water. There's much less mess that way. Besides, there's nothing appealing about the taste of watermelon. You don't hear people say, 'I'm thirsty; I could really use a drink of watermelon' do you? No, they want a sports drink or plain water. Watermelon is disgusting and nobody wants to drink it."

"Don't be absurd," I retorted with a laugh. "Watermelons are tasty and refreshing and an excellent source of vitamin C. They also happen to be MY favorite fruit."

And herein lay the root of our irreconcilable differences.

"Well, that's fine," Walter countered, "but I LOATHE watermelon and if you have any respect for me as your husband you won't bring another one of those monstrosities into this house!"

I had never seen this side of Walter before. I was intrigued.


"Yeah, that's right," he snarled. "A fruit shouldn't be that big. It's a stupid size for a fruit. Why can't they make a watermelon the size of a grapefruit? There is no place to put a watermelon because it's so huge! You have to use a whole roll of Saran Wrap to cover it and even that can't keep it from leaking all over the fridge! You need a freaking garbage bag to contain the thing!"

"But...," he sputtered with bits of spittle spewing from his mouth, " you know what the worst thing about a watermelon is?!"

Walter had really worked himself up into a lather and there was no stopping him.

"The worst part is the seeds! You find seeds for weeks on the bottoms of your feet and in between your toes! And don't tell me there is any such thing as a 'seedless' watermelon! They should be called the 'not so easy to see' or the ‘not as many seeds as regular watermelons’ !"

I had never heard Walter say so many words at one sitting. It was quite the eye opener. Naturally, his rant did not prevent me from bringing watermelons into the house. Every watermelon season I continued to purchase the fruit and Walter's rage escalated accordingly with each passing year.

The final seed came in the sixth year of marriage. I was in bed reading when I heard a horrible kind of screeching, yowling, stampeding sound. It was like a cat was being ganged up on by a porcupine and a hippopotamus, and one of these creatures was in terrible pain.

It turned out the creature was Walter. He burst into the bedroom like a wild beast, and thrust a black watermelon seed in my face, "I found SEVEN of these things stuck to my foot and THIS one was inside my big toe!"

"That's weird – how could it get 'inside' your big toe? Do you mean it was stuck between your toes again?" 

He was heaving and angrily glared at me with flaring nostrils. He was ridiculous. How could anyone not laugh under these circumstances?

"Oh, you think this is FUNNY?!”, he screeched. “That's IT! I'm putting an end to these watermelons once and for all!"

He stormed out of the room as fast as he came in.

For the first time in our marriage, his watermelon rage did not seem so comical and I felt a twinge of alarm. I got out of bed and ran after him to see what he was going to do and possibly stop him from doing it.

There he was, with the glint of hysteria in his eyes and a butcher knife held up high over his head. I screamed, "Stop!" and lunged forward, but it was too late. He plunged the knife into the watermelon over and over again, with chunks of red flesh splattering all over the kitchen and all over Walter.

I tried to wrestle the knife from him, but he'd already massacred that watermelon to an unrecognizable, pulpy abomination of nature. By the time he let go of the knife, he had crumpled to the floor, amidst the watermelon wreckage, and proceeded to sob uncontrollably.

Needless to say, that was the end of Walter and me. The last I heard, he had to be institutionalized during a business trip to China. Apparently he had a mental breakdown while scouting a new venture: The Zhen Institute of Watermelon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to be Unhappy

In the quest for happiness, people can unwittingly kill the very contentment they hope to capture. Theirs is a kind of caged happiness, which is no more genuine than caged freedom. Eventually dejection sets in and a dejected person is an unhappy person.

But is unhappiness really such an undesirable thing? Perhaps there is comfort in misery. There are certainly enough miserable people around to keep the unhappy from feeling they are alone.

For those who are sick and tired of hunting down that elusive happy camper, learning how to be unhappy might be the way to go. The key is to remain locked in a perpetual fog of negativity and hopelessness in four easy steps. Unhappiness will surely follow.

Negative Ruminations

First, be sure to dwell on the negative aspects of any given situation, person or thing, no matter how seemingly positive. This pessimism is easy when the circumstance is overtly tragic like a betrayal, death, financial ruin or injury. However, for true, far-reaching unhappiness, one must also look for the downside in every rainbow, sunset, birthday party, holiday, new relationship, job advancement, financial gain and personal accomplishment. Adopt the mantra that for every good thing in life there is always a downside. Every reward has a punishment and every accomplishment a failure.


Second, complain about the impossibility of your circumstances and do nothing to improve them, even when solutions are presented to you. Argue that you are a victim of the world and there is absolutely zilch that you can do about it. As you complain, frequently use the word "but", particularly when others give you practical advice. Never challenge yourself to act, unless it is in the role of victim.

Since you will already be engaged in negative ruminations, openly complaining should be the natural next step. Grumble about everything and anything — blighted hope, the weather, taxes, the neighbors, the state of the world and physical ailments are all possible subjects.

Shun Gratitude

Third, do not be grateful. This goes hand in hand with pessimism. Gratitude is only for happy fools and you’re no fool. You are too disillusioned to be thankful and you like it that way. Do not appreciate the air you breathe, the good health others less enlightened than you might enjoy, the gifts you are given, the people who claim to love you, or the lucky breaks you endure.

The instant you experience appreciation and say thank you, you run the risk of becoming happy. Rather than have this happen, hold the belief that the world, God/Goddess or whatever owes you and anything you receive is compensation for simply being alive. It is other people and not you who should be grateful for the honor of having you walk the planet.

Ignore the Present

Fourth, never live in the present and always look forward to what is certain to be the bleak future. Remain in a constant state of worry and doubt about the probability of misfortune around the next bend.

Anything positive that might be happening in the moment is not worth appreciating because you know it will not last. Why waste emotional energy on fleeting sources of happiness and future disappointment when you can be unhappy at the current time? Better to conserve endorphins and embrace malcontent today.

Besides, everything comes to an end – all things must die. In fact, the whole purpose of the present is to plan for your inevitable demise. You started dying the day you were conceived. How can you possibly enjoy the present when mortality looms overhead and death is where you're heading?

Finally, by following the above steps with narrow-mindedness and perseverance your unhappiness is virtually guaranteed. Do worry – be unhappy.

I'm Lov'in It!

I'm going to McDonald's;
I'm jumping in my car.
Just a block away;
It's not very far.

I'd walk if I could,
Since it's only down the street.
But I'd never make it
With my asthma,
And large, swollen feet.

I pull into the long
Drive-through line,
Everything looks so good
On the menu sign.

So many choices,
I can't make up my mind;
And there's a person honking
At me from behind.

So I order every item,
Except for number eight.
When I get to the window,
They make me sit and wait.

Thinking of the feast
I'm about to partake,
My mouth starts to water,
And my head starts to ache.

You may judge me as unhealthy
And without willpower.
But I'll have you know
I start my diet in an hour.

Until then I don't care if I'm bloated
And my pants don't fit,
'Cause the food is delicious,
And "I'm lovin' it!"

You Oughta Know but Apparently you Do Not

Alanis Morissette wrote a song,
It was catchy and I used to sing along.
I was drawn to her lyrical rage,
"You Oughta know" seemed fantastically sage.

But after rewinding the tape 50 times,
Before CDs, DVDs, iTunes and LeAnn Rimes,
The words began to grate on my nerves;
Even though a cheating lover no one deserves.

Whiny with self-pity, embarrassing too,
An obsessed, pathetic, undignified shrew.
A man breaks a promise or falls out of lust,
Move on! Live your life! Shake off the dust!

Be thankful you got out when you did,
No domestic trappings, no debt, no kid.
So shed your bitter cross and clean up the mess,
Leave angry revenge for karma to address.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I didn’t know Betrayal was a physical assault. I assumed it was an emotion that momentarily devastated the mind, and if you believed in such things, took a bite out of the soul, but had no actual effect on the physiology or science of the body.

But it isn’t true. 

Betrayal hits all three spheres of mind, body and soul. It assaults every perception from within, even in the darkest recesses of unawareness, and comes unbidden, physically forcing its way out of your eyes, lips, mouth, bones and bowels. 

If the Betrayal is strong enough and its fuelling energy that of utter blank darkness, then even the physical manifestation of its attack is unbearable. Physically, mentally and spiritually, it crucifies you.

In retrospect, I suppose I should have known better as I happen to be someone who experiences ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). I know firsthand the power of thought, both concentrated thought and subconscious directives, over physiology, brain chemistry and anatomy.

Retrospect, however, was of no use to me when Betrayal slammed into my brain so hard, blood-tainted tears spewed from my eye sockets like lava and waves of shock avalanched  down my spine, crushing vertebrae like dominos, and then reaching around to squeeze my heart tight enough to make me believe I would die.

But death at that instance would have been a relief and the assault wasn’t over yet.

My heart’s agony was ruthlessly ignored even as it pounded, begged and screamed for all its life to get out of its rib-encaged prison.

But Betrayal continued its torment without mercy, bringing me to my knees with such speed and intensity I felt the physical pain of my limbs fracturing into shards of cartilage and bone. There was tissue and cellular debris as Betrayal torpedoed through every atom of my being, sadistically seeking out pain receptors and nerve endings with which to intensive the brutality of its attack.

When it had done its job, leaving my flesh ripped open to reveal the insides of me, Betrayal calmly walked away, like one of nature’s instinct-driven beasts, unperturbed at what it had done and having no awareness whatsoever that it and its actions were an abomination. The Beast of Betrayal was thus not moved to compassion by the sights and sounds of my suffering, but rather was annoyed in an almost off-hand way by the sound of my uncontrollable whimpering, the chattering of my teeth and the crushing of my dislocated jaw. To the Beast, witnessing the excruciating torture of my body and soul was a mild annoyance, like swiping at a single fruit fly buzzing by.

It didn’t care. No one cared. I lay there fallen, thinking I could never move my broken bones and oozing wounds without help. But there was no help.

Left with no other choice, after an eternity of lying there, hoping death would finally take me, only to discover even death had deserted me, I gathered myself up from a position of heaped up, forgotten kindling and rose like the sparks of a newly created fire.

Surrender? I'd Rather Die

What's my name, he said,
As if he didn't know;
Ripped the hair from my head,
So I'd see this was his show.

But I refused to say his name;
No surrender from me.
He can live with his shame;
I will not beg for mercy.

Prodded, bull-baited,
A dog thrown in a pit.
My innocence hated,
Kicked, bitten and hit.

But cut off my lips,
Blind my eyes,
Shred me from feet to hips,
Let my entrails bring on the flies.

For I will not be a fool,
A puppet of fear.
I'll stand in a bloody pool,
I won’t shed a tear.

He can hurt me with all his might,
But say his name? I'd rather die.
Or I'll emerge from this fight,
My own name a victory cry.

Forever Married to Cruelty

When I see a drop of bright red on a backdrop of white,
When I hear a woman pleading in the middle of the night,
When I feel something sharp or witness something taboo,
When I taste salt or smell garbage that's when I think of you.

If the sun is sucked behind a mountain and the sky left black,
It is you who I think of and wonder if it's imagination I lack.
You are who I think of when a crash makes me cover my ears;
It is you who I imagine when I speak of hopeless fears.

And it makes no difference where I go, you are always there;
I could hike to the highest peaks where there's hardly any air.
I could travel to the Arctic or rocket into outer-space,
To the ocean's depths, the Earth's core, I’ll always see your face.

I tried to obliterate you with substances of abuse,
But treating poison with poison is useless and obtuse.
I could find religion, seek therapy or cut my own wrists,
But none of it would stop the recollection of your fists.

Even after your body has been put into the cold Earth,
Your immortal words keep me from ever experiencing a rebirth.
No matter what I do you won’t move out of my head,
And there's no way to kill what’s already dead.

Could you comprehend what this is like for me?
You my tormenter in life, in death still won't set me free?
And so it seems it was fated before I was ever born,
I'd be the never-ending victim of your cruelty and scorn.

Do not Presume for Me

It's my life and my demise;
Don't presume to speak for me.
This should come as no surprise;
Do not tamper with my mortality.

It's my soul and my salvation;
Don't presume to fear for me.
It is you who suffers indignation;
Do not impose your morality.

It's my wisdom and my belief;
Don't presume to know better than I.
Existence might be brief,
But to live one also must die.

These laws of nature hold no shame;
Don't presume to mourn for me.
For I'll return from whence I came,
Recycled into a new reality.

The Sociopath of Time

The time is going fast,
Its relentless ticking never stops.
There's no way to make the moments last,
Or press pause before the other shoe drops.

Time does not worry about who lags behind,
Its step never falters and it can't look back.
And when something's missed there's no way to rewind –
Time does not stop to teach or keep track.

Nothing has the power to force time still,
It waits for neither the mediocre nor the great.
It doesn't slow when in trouble things go downhill,
And holds no opinions about religion or fate.

It marches on for those who believe and those who don't,
It gives no medals or applause to the brave,
Is indifferent to people who help and people who won't,
And doesn't take note as the dead are put in their grave.

With acts of cruelty or kindness time is unimpressed,
It's impervious to war's suffering and to peace.
It cares not how far human ingenuity has progressed –
Time is fast, unchangeable and does not cease.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spectacle of Choice

There is a menu of choice in a Restaurant of Freewill. It creates a spectacle of opposites and for some, the watchers and consumers of Spectacle, a euphoric confusion: Dirty ecstasy fuelled by pure desperate misery. 

There is poverty, degradation, addiction, insanity, deserved suffering and sin punishable by eternal hell. They – the consumers of spectacle and partakers of freewill – drive down the garbage strewn streets of the East Side, as if they are sauntering down the popcorn littered aisles of a movie theatre.

The shows are tragic, satirical, alluring, perverse, deserving of contempt and ridicule. The most popular show, however, is Rationalized Tyranny. But the choice is up to the spectator, the one watching the show as if the show is a game and not someone's reality. The unwitting players or game pieces are the consequence of amusement. They dress in spandex or torn denim and have scabbed, ruddy complexions. They need money and compassion, but the spectators deal strictly in Monopoly funds and mix up compassion for contempt.

The elitist audience, the Dummy Watchers, falsely proposition the indigent and stigmatized and then laugh with windblown freedom in the wake of so much suffering. Their Mustang low-profile wheels carelessly whiz by the prostitutes and beggars; the psychotic, the mentally challenged and the physically disabled. Reckless hierarchy paralleled by the consequences of recklessness. Laughter echoed by exquisite madness.

"Hey Mister, ya need a hand?!"

More laughter – sadistic laughter.

The veteran amputee wearily looks up in time to see the blur of gel-tipped streaks and tanned, steroid-pumped biceps — one man's lost limp a found treasure of conviviality for Ignorant Privilege.

A penny hits a woman in stilettos like a hard flick. They assume she’s a hooker and therefore dispensable and not eligible for Basic Human Rights.

Penny for your thoughts? More laughter.

She trips and looks up angrily. The kids drive by celebrating as usual — a show for them, but for her the painful sting of an unanticipated projectile. She is as habituated to the stigmata that clings to her and scars her external skin as those kids are to their Entitlement. She carries on, limping down the street. What else can she do?

Penny passes George who caresses his brown paper bag, alcohol-stained along the edges. He doesn't care about anything and he too is accustomed to the stigmata of his skin. He doesn't like to think about it, though, so he stumbles along in drunken oblivion. He vaguely hears the celebration – the hoots and hollering of the "rebellious" young people who mistake conformity for rebellion. Nonetheless, George lets out a half-hearted, slurred "yahoo" in response. He still recalls, like a nagging at the darkest recesses of his mind, when life was fun.

He has financial restitution tucked into his boot from the government man and lawyer guy. He doesn't remember their names, but he recalls the memories they lured out of the deep crevices of his pillaged mind and quickly shakes his head. He clutches his paper bag and takes a big chug. This is why his cash is almost gone – he spends it chasing those unwanted recollections with whisky as if it’s his choice, as if he has any control over his tremulous hands or the relentless voice in his head demanding he drink.

Blood money is finite though and memories are until death do you part. Without the booze, those once repressed memories will no longer be biting at his heels – they’ll be eating him alive and wolfing him down in agonizing bits.

Money might buy his poison, but it doesn't buy away the priests with their molesting hands or the nuns with their generous switches. He hears his great grandmother's language from the grave, and they tell him he’s schizophrenic. He doesn't understand his choices, but he is told he has some.

Sherry isn't even 16 yet and she doesn't understand her choices, either. She robotically injects another nearly collapsed vein. Her mother died yesterday — just another overdosed junkie. "Deado-Stinko," as Sherry’s barfly stepfather would say.

Sherry will miss her mother – she taught her every trick she knew. Too bad she never knew about choices.